Friday, 27 January 2012

Creamy Tomato and Chicken Stew


Another recent "freezer food" dish we have made a couple of times since the new addition to our family is the Creamy Tomato and Chicken Stew from the fantastic Soups Stews and Mash book.
Grandma actually introduced us to this dish when she brought round a meal for us in the first week that Olivia was home. She had modified the recipe slightly with the addition of potatoes and peas so that we wouldn't have to cook accompaniments. We have since made this recipe a couple of times, and it does freeze well and is delicious.

A quick word about the book: It was Grandma who introduced us to this book a while ago and we've since blogged the Beef and Peppercorn Stew. This book is fantastic. It has the look of an old-fashioned book, but it was actually published in 2000. It also seems that it is no longer available (on amazon anyway), but we managed to get hold of a second hand copy via ebay. Some of the recipes are quite adventurous, using different ingredients, and combinations that are not automatically thought of. The mash section is particularly inspiring. Instead of either plain mash, or sweet potato mash, there are recipes for pumpkin and white bean puree, swede and orange mash to name a couple. There is also a section of different breads to compliment the soup section.

Anyway, on to the recipe - taken straight from the book.

4 rashers bacon
2 tbsp oil
50g butter
300g small button mushrooms, halved
1.5kg chicken pieces
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g can tomatoes
1 cup/250ml chicken stock
1 cup/250ml cream
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves

1. Chop the bacon into large pieces. Place a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Brown the bacon, then remove and set aside on paper towels.
2. Heat half the oil and a third of the butter in the pan until foaming, then stir in the mushrooms and cook until softened and golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.
3. Add the remaining oil to the pan with a little more butter. When the oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces in batches over a high heat until the skin is golden all over and a little crisp. Remove from the pan.
4. Heat the remaining butter in the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over a medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Pour in the tomatoes, stock and cream. Return the bacon, mushrooms and chicken pieces to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat for 25 minutes. Stir in the herbs, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes before serving.

We generally use boneless and skinless chicken thighs rather than chicken pieces, and use either a mixture of herbs (dried or fresh) or normal thyme from the garden. The potatoes and peas (or any other beg you like really) can be added along with returning the mushrooms, chicken and bacon to the pan.
We do this that the way the recipe instructions read is a little faffy. Why does everything need to be cooked separately and removed from the pan. For time purposes it is much easier to cook the chicken separately, then cook the veg and bacon together, it might take a little longer but allows us to nip out of the kitchen. Not actually sure if the way the method suggests adds anything to the flavour, but it could well do?
And we've eaten this just by itself with a spoon to slurp us the delicious sauce, or it could be served with an exciting mash, or crusty bread.
This recipe was even appreciated by Nana, who is well-known within the family for not liking things with too much spice, herb, garlic, onion, pepper, or translated as "flavour"!

3 comments: